Connecting To Nature Within The Ecological Age

                        This is a repost from 2009
* I made this mask back in 2009.    
Bill left a comment on the post "A Journey Through Presence" from Feb 2009 :
"I have been a life long naturalist- in the oldest and most holistic sense, and I feel most connected these days when I am splitting wood or hunting wild mushrooms. I've made a career of natural science and conservation, and now after 35 years of managing, protecting, studying, writing, and teaching about nature; I've begun to think a lot about the meaning of separation. I would like you to ponder this-doesn't a true communion with nature require foraging of some sort? If we are born of nature and part of it, and everything in nature both feeds and is fed by everything else, then why should we be different? Doesn't it make sense that gathering, even including respectful hunting, making things of natural materials, and perhaps even modifying the landscape that you live in in a sustainable way is essential to real communion? Naturalists often abhor or discourage gathering, and I understand the implications of overharvesting, but it seems to me that one needs to make a shelter and eat the fruits of the forest and the fishes of the stream, learn to identify and harvest wild mushrooms and herbs, and come to understand which is which and why they occur where they do to be fully immersed and connected. No one understands nature in more depth than a traditional hunter/gatherer. Just "experiencing" or "pondering" nature in an intellectual sense, or leaving only footprints and taking only photographs without participating directly in the flow of life seems to me to a form of separation in and of itself. I'd like to hear your feelings about this, and sorry for the long post. "                                                                        
 Posted by Bill to Quiet Nature at September 28, 2009 1:48 PM

My response to Bill's comment on the Post, "A Journey Through Presence"from Feb 2009:
Thanks Bill for your thoughtful comments and questions. I agree in that, connecting with nature deepens when we are engaging more than one sensory function. Such as smell, vision, hearing, touching on and on.When I am outdoors engaged in my Photography, it is very much like foraging, gathering, and hunting for me. The experience of time is altered as I am fully engaged in what I am noticing or focusing on. It may be my footsteps delicately avoiding a wild flower, mindful breathing to steady the camera, smelling the Sage as the wind blows, and peripheral vision noticing an approaching Eagle, the changing hues of colors as the sun moves.
There are many people disconnected from nature in society, whether that is emotionally, unconsciously, ethically, or even just playfully. As environmental degradation continues, it could be important to encourage people to pause, observe, and notice what they sense within the natural world. Even if that is water at the beach, a plant in a hospital room, or a Bee on a plant.
By consciously becoming aware, experiencing the brief stillness, and experiencing sensory input, we tend to choose or seek out more in the natural world. Rather than caught in focusing on our worries, our technology etc., we may move beyond staring out a window, to stepping outside for air, or sitting on the grass to stare up into a tree.
If people are so fortunate, they may cross paths with someone like you. Someone who can mentor, teach, and share an experience of further depth to connect within nature! Thanks again for your important comment and questions!                          
  Posted by Sherry to Quiet Nature at September 28, 2009 8:41 PM

Following is a quote from Thomas Berry, one of the leading environmental thinkers in North America.

"The ecological age fosters the deep awareness of the sacred presence within each reality of the universe. There is an awe and reverence due to the stars in the heavens, the sun, and all heavenly bodies; to the seas and the continents; to all living forms of trees and flowers; to the myriad expressions of life in the sea; to the animals of the forests and the birds of the air. To wantonly destroy a living species is to silence forever a divine voice. Our primary need for the various life forms of the planet is a psychic, rather than a physical, need. The ecological age seeks to establish and maintain this subjective identity, this authenticity at the heart of every being. If this is so of the prehuman phase of life, it is surely true of the human also."
                                Pg 46 ~ ‘The Dream of the Earth’, by Thomas Berry 1988

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An Interconnected Life


During a Shamanism workshop this past winter, we had a meditative mask making session. While the mask was created on my face and it hardened, I focused on the encasement and the sound of the rain dripping in a nature sound recording. I became a tree in a wet dark forest. I continued to merge with this consciousness the next morning. I intuitively knew I was to cover the plaster mask with the peeled bark I discovered on the forest floor. I had accepted this gift of bark and left an offering last Fall. This September, I returned to this place in the forest and blessed the mask, tree and forest. I brought the mask home with me as the plaster base is not organic.

One of Joanna Macy's Theoretical Foundations in 'The Work That Reconnects' is:

 "2.Our true nature is far more ancient and encompassing than the separate self defined by habit and society.We are as intrinsic to our living world as the rivers and trees, woven of the same intricate flows of matter/energy and mind. Having evolved us into self-reflexive consciousness, the world can now know itself through us, behold its own majesty, tell its own stories- and also respond to its own suffering. "

pg 59  'Coming Back to Life ~ Practices to Reconnect our Lives, Our World by Joanna Macy-Molly Young Brown 1998
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